From the Star Ledger:
In their first public appearance together, Gov.-elect Phil Murphy and his fellow Democrats who lead the New Jersey Legislature promised Monday to gradually hike the state’s minimum wage to $15 over the next few years.
At the same time, Murphy told reporters he is still committed to raising taxes on wealthy residents to pay for his initiatives — even though state Senate President Stephen Sweeney recently said the federal tax overhaul currently being considered in Congress might complicate the issue.
Appearing at his first Statehouse news conference since his Nov. 7 election, Murphy said he’ll make good on his campaign vow to increase the state’s minimum wage from just under $9 to $15.
But Murphy provided few other details as he stood alongside Sweeney, D-Gloucester; incoming state Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex; and U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, D-1st Dist.
“We have to do it responsibly, but we must get there,” said Murphy, who will replace Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Jan. 16.
“This is as high on the priority list as anything we’ve got,” Murphy added.
Once Murphy is sworn in, though, Democrats will lead both branches of government, making it more likely such a measure will become law.
Democrats have not yet drafted a new bill nor settled on how long the phase-in period will be. Murphy said he favors three to four years.
“At least we know we’re moving forward instead of meeting the veto pen,” Sweeney said.
Said Murphy: “Give us a chance to get our sleeves rolled up and get the specifics ironed out.”